Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.

Digital Technology, Faith & Religion

On anti-virus software and the place of risk in the church

Last week sometime my name-brand Windows anti-virus software beeped at me and said it wanted to upgrade itself to the new, bright and shiny version. ‘Aha!’ I thought, ‘it knows that the subscription is about to run out and it might be replaced with something else so it’s trying to coerce me into loathing it less.’

Anyway, I duly let it do its thing and, given the painful process of upgrading Windows software, got it running smoothly or so I thought. It turns out though that it seems to become more draconian about CDROMs being inserted into the computer. Before a CDROM would be inserted, be scanned briefly and then autorun. Now a CDROM is inserted and we can all go off and have dinner before the computer recognize it’s there and autoruns it. This *really* *really* annoys the kids running games off CDROM.

Options available

  • Uninstall new version, reinstall previous version. May increase risk through not being able to update in future
  • Stay with the current setup – grit teeth and bear it. At risk from irate offspring.
  • Turn off the ‘scan CDROM’ setting – increase risk
  • Change anti-virus software to a new program – which may do a worse job at scanning etc.
  • And so on…

The experience made me think about the church and how sometimes we run our own ‘anti-virus software’ at the door, in the service, in our small groups, in what we read, watch and listen to, and in who we befriend. It seeks to prevent ideas and people who might disrupt the community of faith from even breaching the doorway. In doing so though we may set our ‘scanning’ options to be so aggressive that things that are normal and useful become hard to do for people in the community, and others from outside the community will not ever encounter Christ because of being ‘scanned’ (and heaven forbid, ‘quarantined’ or ‘deleted’). Perhaps, we need to check what our settings are and take a risk at setting them to something less aggressive.

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